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Wednesday, 09 June 2010 14:54

On yer bike! To charge your phone


Nokia has introduced a bicycle powered cellphone charger, aimed at developing countries and the environmentally conscious. Be prepared for some serious pedalling!

According to a posting on Nokia's official blog, announcing the product, "There's two angles to this. The first is that the product is initially aimed at emerging markets. Places where electricity may be scarce, unreliable or expensive. Making it possible for a bicycle to charge a phone creates the difference between the chance of being able to communicate and the guarantee. In many areas, a bicycle-powered charging service might create a sustainable micro-business for some individuals."

That makes sense. We're not sure about the second angle. "This looks a lot greener than plugging your charger into the wall. While Nokia's chargers have now largely put paid to the peril of unattended charging [by lowering standby power consumption] not plugging in at all is more than 100 percent more environmentally friendly. It might also encourage owners to exercise, to boot."

It will certainly encourage, nay require, users to exercise. According to a report on the device in the Financial Times, It would take two-and-a-half hours for a cyclist riding at 15km an hour to fully charge a battery."

This might be alright in Finland in the winter, but in an Australian summer I'd be needing another shower after that, so there go any greenhouse credits I've accrued by not using mains power.

The Financial Times, cynically perhaps, said of the initiative that it "highlights efforts by Nokia to shore up its dominant position at the lower end of the market in the developing world, amid rising competition from cut-price Chinese handsets'¦The bicycle charger fits [Nokia's] strategy of adding value to Nokia phones that copy-cat producers cannot match."

Given that the industry has standardised on the micro USB connector for charging a universal bicycle powered phone charger would seem like a no-brainer.

And I reckon this is a much better option: a solar powered phone charger that claims to deliver 20 minutes usage from just 50 minutes of sunshine. No sweat!

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